Edmonton Notes for June 14, 2020

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • City Council considered a multi-pronged motion on Wednesday that could lead to a $16.3 million reduction to the Edmonton Police budget in 2021, reports the Edmonton Journal. Police chief Dale McFee defended the current level of funding for the service in relation to the workload.
  • “We’ve hired diversity in an extremely aggressive manner,” said police chief Dale McFee cautioning that budget cuts would hurt efforts to increase the diversity of the police force. “When you hire in a collective agreement … if you reduce your numbers, it’s last in, first out.”
  • The Downtown Business Association has accepted the resignation of executive director Ian O’Donnell, effective immediately. "I fully and completely apologize for using ‘ALM’, a term that is associated with hate and racism. I was wrong to use it and am sorry for the hurt that it has caused," wrote O’Donnell.
  • Troy and I spoke with Sahr Saffa on Episode 89 of Speaking Municipally. I found his perspective on the events of the past couple of weeks incredibly thought-provoking.
  • This week, City Council unanimously approved a short-term housing plan that will turn a former jockey dormitory on the Northlands site into temporary bridge housing, reports the Edmonton Journal. "I’m done asking for other people to step up and help and I’m not going to use the provincial government’s abdication of leadership within their jurisdiction on this anymore, to justify the city waiting to make substantial change around supportive housing towards the goal of ending homelessness," said Mayor Don Iveson.
  • Council also approved the Edmonton Economic Recovery Grant policy. The intake period for phase 1 is expected to open on Monday, June 15. Businesses can apply for matching microgrants of up to $5,000.
  • The City of Edmonton has laid off another 60 employees this week in positions ranging from administrative to information technology to planning, reports CBC News.
  • Alberta moved to Stage 2 of the Province’s relaunch plan on Friday. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
  • The City of Edmonton is distributing 500,000 masks at four transit centres and three LRT stations starting Monday, June 15. Free masks will be handed out, upon request, daily between 7am and 7pm. Transit fares and front-door boarding will resume on Monday, June 15 as well.
  • "The reopening of facilities is very complex and given the financial impacts of the pandemic, some services will not return this season," said David Aitken, chair of the City’s COVID-19 task team, in response to the provincial launch update. The funicular is reopening on Monday, June 15 with operation from 7am to 9pm and ridership limited to two people at a time, and the Valley Zoo also reopens on Monday, June 15 with additional signage, timed tickets, and capacity limited to 1,500 people.
  • The Edmonton Public School Board is cutting 611 full-time positions and suggested more cuts are still to come, reports the Edmonton Journal. “When you continue to squeeze, what’s affected are the classrooms,” said board chair Trisha Estabrooks.
  • Get the latest on Media, Tech, Food, Health Innovation, the Region, Music, Arts, Business, and Council with Taproot Edmonton’s latest roundups.

Jun 12, 2020 COVID-19 update 22498
Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Friday, June 12, 2020, photo by Alberta Newsroom

Upcoming Events (June 15-21)

The vast majority of upcoming events have been cancelled or postponed. If you’re unsure, just stay home – especially if you’re feeling sick.

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